STATE OF BUSINESS: Strong Base

Underscoring the strength of the nation's business recovery last week was a Department of Commerce report on manufacturers' new orders, the key to future industrial output. Orders rose more than seasonally in September, and for the first time exceeded a comparable 1957 month. Manufacturers' sales, especially durables, were still slowed down by new model changes and by cautious buying for inventories by distributors and retailers. But with retail sales on the rise, merchants expected the gap between increased manufacturers' new orders and sales to be only temporary (see chart). Other recovery items:

¶ Construction contracts in September rose 26%...

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